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The Chalkboard: Neil Lennon must solve the Tom Rogic problem this summer

It was a monumental Saturday for Celtic Football Club.

Not only have the Hoops managed to win a treble of trophies for a third successive season, the club also announced their future direction by confirming that Neil Lennon has been offered the permanent role of manager.

Despite securing a 2-1 victory over Hearts, the match at Hampden was another reminder for many that there’s serious work to be done on this Celtic side over the summer break to maintain success.

Lennon must start by addressing an obvious midfield problem that put the team at risk of defeat against Craig Levein’s side.

On the chalkboard

Put simply, the performances of Tom Rogic are not to the standard that Celtic require and it’s been clear since he returned from injury a couple of months ago.

He started the match on Saturday instead of Olivier Ntcham and from the first minute it was rather obvious there was a lack of balance in the Hoops midfield.

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Scott Brown and Callum McGregor were overrun in the first half, with the low-energy Rogic failing to do anything on the ball that could be considered a threat to the Hearts defence.

In the second half that only continued until Lennon took the necessary step to substitute the attacking midfielder off and bring on the Frenchman, who on today’s evidence should have started the match.

Ntcham was far more of a presence in both halves of the pitch, managing to carry the ball on the break more effectively than the Australian and offering the Hoops more out of possession too.

Tactical changes

Now Lennon knows he has the job heading in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers he will likely seek to enact his own tactical changes on a side that have persisted in the manner of Brendan Rodgers since his departure to Leicester City.

What that means for the formation and style of his side remains to be seen, but if Rogic doesn’t improve or hit the ground running in the early stages of the season then he won’t find himself starting much longer.

Right now a midfield three of Brown, McGregor and one of Ntcham or Ryan Christie seems by far the best way to proceed, as both can offer attacking impetus with a better defensive work rate than Rogic.

Recruitment is going to be a massive part of Lennon’s first few months next season, but unless he gets the ongoing balance of his team spot on then Celtic risk having a more difficult summer of qualifiers than they’d like.

Article title: The Chalkboard: Neil Lennon must solve the Tom Rogic problem this summer

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